How often do you hear this: "Oh, he/she can't be gay! He/she is married!"
Not true. Gay people can and do marry members of the opposite sex. And most of the time, it's not a deliberate deception. They really believe they're straight. They aren't hiding anything or lying to themselves.
That was true of Lisa, one of the two moms in Mya and Her Moms. In this episode, she was married for about five years in the past, and had relationships with men since high school. She'd never thought she was gay.
That all changed in graduate school.
She started a relationship with a woman, the whole time saying she would eventually go back to men. That never happened. She met Laura and they've been together ever since.
When that's the case with someone in your life, it can be shocking. Not because you condemn them, but because this thing you'd known about the person all along is suddenly very different.
The key, according to experts at Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), is to own your reactions and reaffirm your love for your friend or family member.
Instead of saying things like, "Your life will be so hard!" or "You'll never have a family!" ask questions: Who are their friends? Are they connected with other people in the gay community? What sort of future do they envision for themselves? It will bring you both to a greater closeness and understanding.
Most importantly, realize that the person has shared a sensitive secret with you and your reaction is going to matter. Better to ask to talk about it later after you've had the chance to absorb the news than to say something thoughtless they will carry with them forever.
Lisa's parents were incredibly supportive -- maybe even a little too supportive! Shortly after she told them, they decided to march in a pride parade with their local chapter of PFLAG. The only problem was that Lisa was not out to many people aside from her parents, and she worried, "But ... but ... you could be on television! You're going to out me!"
See Lisa's touching coming-out story, below:
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Has anyone close to you come out? How did you handle it?
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